19 January 2010

Anti-obesity campaigns: the Xenical Fat Mountain

Please excuse my shaky phonecam picture but this is a pretend blob of human fat attached to a plastic pedestal. It's a promotional item advertising Xenical.

Xenical is the trade name for Orlistat, which is available on prescription. A weaker version of this drug is called Alli and is available over the counter in the UK. Xenical makes you lose small amounts of weight by giving you diarrhoea. Its side effects include anal leakage and fecal incontinence. Nice!

Rachel Colls picked up the Xenical freebie at an obesity conference. I think it looks a bit like a trophy, or a model of Mont Blanc rendered in pretend fat, so from henceforth I will refer to it as the Xenical Fat Mountain.

Models like this, and Marilyn Wann's Little Pound o' Fat, are produced and used by companies that have an investment in weight loss. They use such products to dehumanise fatness, to make it seem disgusting and Other, and to justify the use of their products. Perhaps the marketing geniuses at Roche think that this beautiful item would look good sitting on someone's desk and make their weight loss brands look irresistible (though a model of a pool of fecal incontinence would be more appropriate).

Such models, alongside a plethora of promotional items, are part of the marketing strategies that medical industries use to sell their stuff. Perhaps you've seen branded stationery or other drug company tchotchkes in your doctor's office. They pick this stuff up from conferences and conventions, they use it in the everyday, and maybe they buy it and prescribe it too. This trivial stuff tells a bigger story about how health is bought and delivered.

Anyway, back to the Xenical Fat Mountain. Rachel had the great idea of inviting people to collect and show off obesity-related marketing crap that they have gathered along life's journey. What's the most ridiculous piece of anti-obesity marketing junk that you've come across? Do you have products foisted on you by weight loss marketers? Perhaps some delightful weight loss surgery stationery, or some quasi-medical diet-promo knick-knacks? If so, we'd love to see them. Please take a picture of it, add a little description, send it to me and I'll post it here.


Miriam Heddy said...

It's interesting to imagine a "muscle mountain" or a "blood mountain" or a "bone mountain" or any number of other mountains you could produce sitting beside this one.

It'd be like some sort of body landscape.

Personally, I'm rather aquarrific, so I can see them all rising up grandly out of a lovely ocean.

Charlotte Cooper said...

Don't tell the people at Xenical, they'll be churning them out in no time.

Anonymous said...

Alli sends these out too. I saw one at my pharmacist, told him I thought it was disgusting and offensive. He agreed and threw it away!

Charlotte Cooper said...

Heehee! Save it for me next time you see one!

hsofia said...

This is ridiculous on so many levels. Fat is NECESSARY in our bodies. *SMH*

Anonymous said...

Have you seen the movie Dogma? Xenical could license the rubber poop monster!

Bri said...

They have a fat mountain on display at my gym. The gym at which I refused to have my weight and measurements taken when I joined, and had their brains nearly explode in the process.

I also have a 'diabetes tape measure' which is color coded in order to designate your 'risk' of diabetes depending on your weight measurement.

Charlotte Cooper said...

Oh Bri, that tape measure sounds great. Can I have a picture of it?

Bri said...

Sure Charlotte, I will grab it back from my 3 yr old (who thinks it is PRETTY!!!!) and take a pic for you.

Charlotte Cooper said...

Yay! Thanks.

wriggles said...

The similarity with cynical springs to mind.

The model of a fat cell I've seen was bigger and shaped differently-looks like this one was curtailed?

I remember I saw one when they announced that contratry to what they 'thought', they'd discovered that the fat cell rather than being lazy, was actually one of the most active cells in the body. (And they say fat people are stupid).

I always remember this whenever I see a model of a fat cell.